Rohrfish Outreach Initiative

Jim Rohr saw enormous potential in the young people in our community and we aim to celebrate that potential through innovative programming focused on the research discoveries and scientific expertise at the National Marine Mammal Foundation.

The goal on the Rohrfish Outreach Initiative is to engage students through outreach events, spark their interest in STEM fields, and inspire them to protect marine mammals and the oceans. With the continual development of innovative programming focused on NMMF research discoveries and scientific expertise, we aim to arm and empower kids with the knowledge and passion necessary to be change makers, leaders in STEM fields, marine mammal conservationists, and ocean ambassadors.

The Rohrfish Outreach Initiative honors Dr. Jim Rohr, who leaves behind a legacy of hope and inspiration for our future generations. We strive to reach as many students as possible to instill confidence and ignite a passion to understand, care for, and improve the world around us. We are grateful that the initiative will carry on Jim’s vision for the NMMF outreach program and embolden what he started.

Our Friend Jim Rohr

Our K-12 and community outreach vision is to start a conversation about our shared responsibility to be good stewards of the ocean and the life within it. We do this through our outstanding partnerships with leading STEM organizations in San Diego allows us to reach a broad and diverse audience.

  • We care that the richness of the oceans will be dramatically diminished for our children and our grandchildren.
  • We care that less than ½ of 8th-grade girls would even consider a profession in science, engineering, technology or mathematics – collectively known as STEM.
  • We care that there are children in San Diego who have never been to the beach.
  • We care about the impact that plastics have on marine ecosystems.
  • We aim to provide opportunities and exposure to as many young students as possible through our community partnerships.

At the National Marine Mammal Foundation, Jim focused on inspiring young students, especially young girls, to pursue STEM education and careers. He also developed strong partnerships with UCSD Create, the Girl Scouts of San Diego, and the Fleet Science Center to help bring science to kids and teachers all around San Diego. Jim’s legacy lives on as our mission to inspire and inform our community continues to grow.

After helping manage SSC Pacific’s research portfolio, he was asked to champion a new outreach program, the purpose of which was to attract more U.S. students to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This program grew exponentially and through an army of volunteers soon provided over 200 events a year, involving thousands of students and over a hundred teachers. He worked on many projects involving the flow stimulation of bioluminescence. A highlight was studying dolphin hydrodynamics using bioluminescence as a flow marker. Retiring from the DoD in 2015, he continued his outreach efforts through the National Marine Mammal Foundation. 

Jim's Publications

Rock salt/ice Ice cream Recipe

“Dr. Jim Rohr, the previous outreach coordinator for the NMMF and my mentor and good friend, loved to have fun. Truly, he was like a big kid playing with magic tricks… to him science was about celebrating the wonder and excitement of discovering things. He was big on activities… even if they didn’t have much to do with the topic at hand! For example, the most popular activity we did by far was making liquid nitrogen ice cream at the end of every outreach workshop. Even if the topic was something like “Animal Helpers,” we would figure out a way to tie in liquid nitrogen… maybe by saying that people who want to conserve wild animals can have big biobanks of samples that they store in a “frozen zoo.” He would bring out a giant dewar of liquid nitrogen and we would slowly mix it into a bowl of cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla… and then put mini chocolate chips on top. We would don big fluffy gloves, goggles and face shields, and as the liquid nitrogen touched the cream it would sizzle and splatter, and make lots of smoky ice crystals. We looked the part of mad scientists, and we were doing something cool because it was real (and ever so slightly dangerous). I’ve found that the activities kids find the most engaging are the ones that are real, not manufactured examples meant to be safe and easy. We would collect post-event reviews, and inevitably the favorite part was the ice cream… sure, part of it was the sugary treat, but what the kids really clung to was the collective thrill the instant that they got to see the mystery of science in action. The ooh, ahh moment and the screams of delight. If we want kids to LOVE science, we must always remember to dig deep in our memories, find our inner kid, and think of what will make our lessons real and FUN!”